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Russian Segezha to invest $25.5 million in Arkhangelsk CLT plant

International Forest Industries - Wed, 22/07/2020 - 14:13

Segezha Group, one of the leading Russian wood processing company, intends to build new CLT plant in Arkhangelsk region, said Mikhail Shamolin, president of Segezha, at the meeting with Arkhangelsk governor.

Segezha expects a CLT plant to be operational by 2023 with capacity of 50 thousand m3. Company plans to spend $25.5 million (1.8 billion roubles) on the plant.

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North American softwood lumber prices pop during usual seasonal slow-down

International Forest Industries - Wed, 22/07/2020 - 13:42

At this time of year it is usual for softwood lumber prices to be lowering, as end-users would be stocked-up on inventory needs for ongoing building projects, and sawmills would be slowing down as normal seasonal closures and curtailments come into effect, according to Madison’s Lumber Reporter.

However, this year – having largely stopped production during spring as industry responded to Covid-19 infections – softwood lumber producers across North America are still operating at relatively high capacity levels. Inventories in the field remain sketchy to weak and lumber manufacturers continue running at higher-than-normal production levels for the time of year, to try to feed buyer hunger.

Prices, of course, have responded according. While beginning to rise well above this time last year, the price of most benchmark construction framing dimension softwood lumber items are far below mid-2018 levels. This week the price of Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr again rose significantly. Particularly in the Western region standard wood building materials prices are up +7%. As prices of this commodity approach levels of March 2020, these rises are expected to slow as more long-delayed deliveries arrive to customers daily. While order files at sawmills are claimed to be 3 weeks, demand lately has mostly been for small volumes of very specific items.

Demand for Western S-P-F in the United States remained steady last week even as players on both sides of the border celebrated their respective national holidays. Suppliers were confident that business will improve even further this week after everyone gets back to their desks and sawmill orders start flowing again with increased fervour. Asking prices continued to rise.

According to Canadian Western S-P-F producers, there was no change in the pace of demand from the previous week even though many folks took long weekends in view of Canada Day and Independence Day. Buyers in Canada continued to get to sawmills’ wood piles before US customers even got a whiff, and prices kept climbing. Sawmill order files were to the week of July 27th and were pushing into August.

For the week ending July 3, 2020, prices of standard construction framing dimension softwood lumber items rose yet again. For its part, benchmark lumber item Western S-P-F 2×4 #2&Btr KD rose another +32, or +7%, to US$468 mfbm, from US$436 the week before. The price for this lumber commodity was up +$90, or +24%, from one month ago. Compared to the same week in 2019 this price is up +$66, or +17%.

Purveyors of Eastern S-P-F dimension lumber and studs had another tricky week, with prices again all over the place. Sawmills were tentative about getting their wares to market as they didn’t want to leave potential money on the table. Construction activity remained strong on both sides of the border and many contractors were unable to find wood materials’ coverage for current and upcoming building jobs.

Recovering well compared to last year but still far behind mid-2018, last week’s Western S-P-F 2×4 price improved +$85, or +22%, relative to the 1-year rolling average price of US$383 mfbm and increased +$77, or +20%, relative to the 2-year rolling average price of US$391 mfbm.

The below table is a comparison of recent highs, in June 2018, and current July 2020 benchmark dimension softwood lumber 2×4 prices compared to historical highs of 2004/05 and compared to recent lows of September 2015:

Softwood Lumber Prices Pop During Usual Seasonal Slow-Down


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Madison’s North America Lumber and Sawmill Update: May 2020

International Forest Industries - Wed, 22/07/2020 - 13:08

US Softwood Lumber Production Improves in January-February 2020 Compared to One-Year-Ago

For the first two months of 2020 softwood lumber production in the US continued improvements compared to one-year-ago, to increase even more, says the latest issue of the Western Wood Products Association’s monthly Lumber Track.
For January and February 2020 US lumber production volume increased by +5% to 6,163 mfbm compared to the first two months of 2019 when it was 5,862 mfbm. Comparing February to the previous month however, there was a -10% drop in US softwood lumber production in February 2020 likely due to the impact of the global COVID19 pandemic.

In Canada meanwhile, softwood lumber production fell, by -7.8% in the first two months of 2020 to 3,766 mfbm, compared to one-year-ago when it was 4,084 mfbm.

China Restricts Import of Canadian Logs

The Chinese government announced June 16 that it has found pests in logs imported from Canada, and will be treating Canadian lumber with relevant precautions. Though China has not announced any lumber-related export restrictions thus far, Canadian forestry companies are concerned this announcement precedes an official sanction on this key Canadian export.
The Trudeau government is investigating these claims, which come weeks after a Canadian court ruled against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. Canada’s Trade Ministry confirmed later on Tuesday that on June 9 it received 16 notifications of non-compliance from China related to the discovery of pests in shipments of hardwood and softwood logs, spokesperson Ryan Nearing said to the Financial Post.

Top of mind are previous Chinese sanctions on Canadian agricultural products, including canola, which despite having been eased, severely affected prairie farmers. China has recently placed sanctions on Australian beef and barley imports, in retaliation for Australia’s calls to investigate Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Interforst 2022 will be shortened to four days

International Forest Industries - Wed, 22/07/2020 - 12:16

Interforst – The next international leading trade fair for forestry and forest technology will take place from July 20 to 23, 2022 in Munich, Germany. The aim of the event is to bring all representatives of the international forestry sector, including representatives from science and politics, together at a trade fair so that visitors can enjoy a high-level exchange.

Personal meetings with members of the Advisory Board and the analysis of the exhibitor survey showed that the majority within the industry welcome a shortened trade fair. Given this broad support, Messe München has decided to reduce the next Interforst to four trade fair days.

 Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Messe München, supports this decision: “Interforst is the leading platform for innovations and solutions in the field of forestry, wood and bioenergy. We owe that primarily to our loyal exhibitors and visitors. That’s why it’s important to us to ensure the best conditions for everyone involved.”

What was noticeable in the analysis of the visitor survey was that visitors spend an average of 1,3 days at the trade fair. The aim is to organize a modern trade fair that offers visitors solutions for various challenges over the long term and adapts to the contemporary forestry culture.

The four days of the fair from Wednesday to Saturday will continue to reach all parts of the forestry sector that work together nationally and globally. Constructive and interactive trade fair programs will be offered from and for the fields of business, science and politics.

Every four years, Interforst, as one of the leading international trade fairs for forestry and forest technology, presents the entire logistics chain from afforestation and timber harvesting to the sawmill. Another focus is on the energetic use of wood.

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Safely seeding the South West

International Forest Industries - Wed, 22/07/2020 - 11:47

Seeding – It is all hands-on deck at the West Manjimup Nursery in Western Australia. Forest Products Commission (FPC) staff and a team of casuals have started dispatching seedlings for the 2020 planting season.

The first load of pine seedlings left the nursery in mid June and was taken to Baudin Plantation.

Nursery and Seed Centre Manager Jeffrey Cook said approximately 3.3 million pine seedlings and one million karri seedlings would be dispatched and planted in the South West during June and July.

“The nursery has been required to increase the workforce significantly to meet the demands of the planting schedule,” Mr Cook said.

“We have employed approximately 45 casual employees which has been a big boost in employment for the Manjimup community.”

Nursery processes have had to evolve to deliver and meet new social distancing requirements.

“We have installed polycarbonate sheeting on the packing line to provide a barrier of protection between each individual packer, to meet social distancing requirements and create a safe working environment during dispatch,” Mr. Cook said.

The nursery has also staggered lunch and other breaks to assist in managing social distancing.

“The casual employees are very happy to be back working as employment opportunities have been scarce in the last few months and the FPC plays a vital part in regional employment,” Mr Cook said.

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Combi-CS pedestrian stacker wins prestigious IFOY Award

International Forest Industries - Wed, 22/07/2020 - 11:13

Combilift is a winner at this year’s IFOY Awards 2020– one of the most prestigious and hotly contested international awards in the materials handling industry which honours the best products and solutions of the year. The company won the Warehouse Truck Lowlifter Category with its innovative Combi-CS pedestrian counterbalance stacker.

The Combi-CS is the only pedestrian counterbalance stacker that will operate in a conventional reach truck aisle for space saving and productive storage and handling. It features Combilift’s unique, internationally patented and award winning multi-position tiller arm which can be turned to the left or right of the unit to position the rear drive wheel, allowing the operator to remain in the safest position- at the side of the machine rather than at the rear as is the case with other pedestrian stackers. This ensures optimum visibility of the load and surroundings as well as guaranteeing maximum safety in areas where other personnel or members of the public may be present.

Due to the current circumstances, the hundreds of people that normally attend the IFOY ceremony could not get together personally, so the organisers rolled out the virtual red carpet for the winners on the Internet on July 13th 2020 at www.ifoy.org. IFOY founder and Executive Chairperson of the IFOY Jury Anita Würmser said: “Special times require special solutions and this year’s IFOY Awards were dedicated to the best innovations in intralogistics and moreover to the people who make intralogistics happen.”

Finalists’ products underwent stringent IFOY audit and innovation checks by industry experts and journalists from leading logistics media from 19 countries also tested and evaluated the equipment for qualities such as technology, design, ergonomics, safety, marketability, customer benefit and sustainability. Some of the jury’s comments on the Combi-CS were as follows: “The Combi-CS is a really compact smart pedestrian operated truck and a nice hands-on solution. It offers significant added value in terms of narrow aisle operation and safety in confined environments. It is a customer-focussed solution with a very high level of market relevance.”

Combilift CEO and Co-founder Martin McVicar said: “On behalf of the whole Combilift team I am delighted to receive the IFOY 2020 Award and proud that this innovative product has been recognised as valuable solution for the intralogistics sector. We extend our thanks to the IFOY jury for selecting us for this important award.”

Main photo: Combi-CS IFOY Award 2020 in the Warehouse Truck Lowlifter Category

photo left: Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder, Combilift pictured with the IFOY Award 2020 for the Combi-



Video of award acceptance: https://youtu.be/3RDXQ6mZDTY

Product video: https://youtu.be/6iPfEWThgJE

Co. Monaghan
H18 VP65
Tel: + 353 47 80500
Fax: + 353 47 80501
Web: www.combilift.com

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Government support needed to keep mills running

International Forest Industries - Wed, 22/07/2020 - 10:37

• It’s estimated more than 50,000 hectares of pine plantation in southern NSW was lost in the Black Summer bushfires
• Tumbarumba’s Hyne Timber mill has lost 40 per cent of its future plantation wood supply
• The timber industry is seeking federal freight subsidies to haul logs from other regions to sustain local mills

When bushfires razed the outskirts of Tumbarumba in southern New South Wales on New Year’s Eve, residents on the forest fringes lost everything: their houses, stock, infrastructure and livelihoods.

They also lost an estimated 25,000 hectares of native bush and 50,000 hectares of pine plantations that encircle towns like Tumbarumba and Tumut.

The loss of forest, especially pine plantations, means a cloud of economic uncertainty hangs over the region. At Tumbarumba, Hyne Timber directly employs 230 people and just as many indirectly. It’s one of the largest sawmills in the southern hemisphere. The loss of plantation pine has immense implications.

“That’s about 40 per cent of our available logs going forward, so it’s a substantial impact to us in the future,” mill manager Marcus Fenske said. “We’re really fighting to survive, and we want to survive.”

Faced with a shortage of local logs, the timber industry wants the Federal Government to provide freight subsidies to make it viable to haul sawlogs hundreds of kilometres from other regions to the district’s timber mills. So far, it has been unsuccessful; it doesn’t qualify for any of the AU$600 million in federal bushfire recovery funding.

Hyne Timber estimates it will have to spend an additional AU$10 million a year, at a time when margins are slim. The company is racing to salvage as much of the fire-killed blackened timber while they can.

Source: ABC, ABC Landline: Tim Lee

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Smurfit Kappa demonstrates truly impactful sustainability at leading kraftliner mill

International Forest Industries - Tue, 21/07/2020 - 14:32

Smurfit Kappa’s industry-leading new recovery boiler is now operating at its Nettingsdorf Kraftliner mill in Austria.

The unveiling of the state-of-the-art boiler marks an important milestone in Smurfit Kappa’s Future Energy Plant project, which was a €134 million investment to increase the sustainability and efficiency of the leading kraftliner mill.

The innovative new boiler will enable the plant to further boost energy optimisation at the mill. By recovering energy from the biomass contained in black liquor from pulp production, the new boiler is set to cut CO2 emissions by 40,000 tonnes, which equates to about two-thirds of the current emissions at the site, and 2.4% of those from Smurfit Kappa Europe.

The Future Energy Plant also involved developing an advanced new steam turbine, as well as several other projects including an upgraded water treatment plant and installation of additional drying cylinders to the paper machine.

Speaking about the mill’s latest milestone, Günter Hochrathner, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf, said: “I am very proud to get to this day in such a huge and ambitious project and it’s a great moment for all our employees here. By starting to operate this new recovery boiler, we have taken a very important step forward in sustainability and are practising true circularity.”

Laurent Sellier, COO Smurfit Kappa Paper & Board, Europe, added: “The Future Energy Plant project was part of an ongoing investment programme by the Smurfit Kappa Group to implement a series of transformative sustainable innovations. Efficient energy plants play a major role in the production of paper.

“This investment in Nettingsdorf will enable us to ensure a long-term supply of high-quality and sustainable containerboard – something our customers have come to expect from us.”

Founded in 1851 and with over 360 employees, Nettingsdorf is one of Smurfit Kappa’s most efficient paper mills and one of the leading producers of kraftliner in Europe. The mill produces approximately 450,000 tonnes of paper annually and has seen a 34% increase in productivity since becoming part of Smurfit Kappa in 1995.

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Smurfit Kappa launches innovative solar energy initiative in Colombia

International Forest Industries - Tue, 21/07/2020 - 13:58

Smurfit Kappa has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art solar panel system in its Colombian Forestry operation.

The Solar One photovoltaic system, which was developed with renewable energy provider Celsia, will generate 50% of the energy needs of the nursery and the entomology and plant pathology laboratories.

The 168 panels that comprise the system will generate an estimated 78,000 kWh/year reducing CO2 emissions by 29.7 tonnes annually.

The new system has been installed in an optimum location in the forestry nursery to maximise exposure to the hours of sunshine available.The nursery has the capacity to produce up to 8 million pine and eucalyptus seedlings per year which are then planted in Smurfit Kappa’s forestry plantations throughout the Colombian Andean region and also used in reforestation projects.

The entomology and plant pathology laboratories that will also benefit from the new solar scheme work alongside the nursery on preventative programmes to identify and study potential forestry pests and diseases. Any programmes that are used to eliminate pests work in harmony with nature and are completely organic.

Ricardo Sierra Fernandez, CEO of Celsia, said: “We are happy to be allies with Smurfit Kappa Colombia, a company that is a leader in environmental conservation issues. Being able to connect the generation of solar energy to feed their needs in that incredible nursery they have in Restrepo, is another example of that leadership. Thanks for trusting Celsia.”

Alvaro Henao, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Colombia, added: “The use of clean and renewable energy is part of our strategic goal of reducing CO₂ emissions which we have made significant progress in through our use of biofuels for self-generation energy in our Yumbo plant, the use of natural gas in most of our operations, and the ongoing capture of CO₂ from the atmosphere in our forestry plantations.

“This new milestone excites and motivates us to continue contributing to the construction of a sustainable future.”

Smurfit Kappa’s Colombian forestry division is held up as a centre of excellence both nationally and internationally due to its strong track record in sustainability and protecting and nurturing biodiversity.

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Deere Announces New Operating Model

International Forest Industries - Thu, 02/07/2020 - 10:37

Focused on Unlocking Customer Value, Deere Announces New Operating Model

  • Resources will be aligned to deliver a differentiated customer experience through production systems, an intuitive technology stack and lifecycle solutions.
  • The new model is designed to unlock new value for customers and respond more quickly to changing market conditions.
  • Deere will adopt a more disciplined approach to capital allocation by devoting research and investment dollars to the most promising and profitable opportunities.

Deere & Company (DE) announced June 17th a new vision and operating model in order to accelerate its success in the integration of smart technology innovation with Deere’s legacy of manufacturing excellence.

The Deere Smart Industrial strategy is designed to unlock new value for customers and to help them become more profitable and sustainable, while simultaneously revolutionizing the agriculture and construction industries through the rapid introduction of new technologies.

To ensure success, actions will be concentrated on the following three focus areas:

Production Systems: A strategic alignment of products and solutions around Production Systems roadmaps – which capitalizes on Deere’s industry-leading knowledge of its customers and how they work. The new production systems structure enables the company to drive an integrated product roadmap and related investments that span all aspects of a customer’s jobs and to more fully meet customer needs.

Technology Stack: Investments in technology as well as research and development that deliver intelligent solutions to Deere customers through an intuitive technology stack made up of hardware, embedded software, connectivity, data platforms, and applications. The Deere family of “smart” machines, systems, and solutions unlocks customer economic value through enhanced precision, automation, speed, and efficiency not possible previously.

Lifecycle Solutions: The enterprise integration of Deere’s aftermarket and support capabilities to more effectively manage customer equipment, service, and technology needs across the full lifetime of a John Deere product, and with a specific lifecycle solution focus on the ownership experience.

“As Deere businesses and those of its customers become more competitive and dynamic, Deere’s track record of technological innovation puts it in a position to anticipate, respond, and outpace those dynamics by offering cutting-edge solutions to enhance customers’ productivity, profitability, and sustainability,” said John May, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The new operating model represents a leap forward in performance for the company from an already strong starting point.”

Organization and Personnel Assignments
Effective June 16, 2020, the following individuals will lead redesigned or newly created business units under the Smart Industrial Operating Model:

Cory J. Reed has been appointed to the new role of President, Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division for Production & Precision Agriculture Equipment and for the Sales & Marketing Regions of the Americas and Australia. In this new role, Reed will be responsible for leading a team to define, develop, and deliver equipment solutions to unlock customer value for production-scale growers in large grains, small grains, and cotton/sugar.

Markwart von Pentz has been appointed to the new role of President, Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division for Small Ag & Turf and for the Sales & Marketing Regions of Europe, CIS, Asia and Africa. Von Pentz and his team will be responsible for defining, developing, and delivering fit-for-purpose products and solutions to support mid-size and small growers globally, as well as for turf customers. The unit is principally organized around production systems for dairy and livestock as well as high-value crops.

Recently appointed as Senior Vice President, Intelligent Solutions Group, Jahmy J. Hindman has been named to a new position as the Chief Technology Officer, reporting to the CEO. Hindman will oversee the Intelligent Solutions Group, responsible for Deere’s end-to-end technology stack, shared enterprise engineering, and John Deere Electronic Solutions product delivery.

Marc A. Howze, currently serving as Chief Administrative Officer, will continue in that role while also assuming enhanced responsibilities in a new role as Group President, Lifecycle Solutions – responsible for leading a team focused on the enterprise-level integration of aftermarket and support capabilities, and a focus on the full ownership experience over the lifetime of Deere’s products.

Meanwhile, the following members of the leadership team will continue in their current roles and will continue reporting to the CEO:

  •  Rajesh Kalathur, President, John Deere Financial and Chief Information Officer
  • Ryan D. Campbell, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
  • Mary K.W. Jones, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Worldwide Public Affairs

As previously announced, John H. Stone will assume his new role as President, Worldwide Construction & Forestry and Power Systems on July 1. Deere’s Construction and Forestry division, which was recently organized along production systems for earthmoving, roadbuilding and forestry, will now more fully leverage the technology stack and lifecycle solutions in the future.

“After 183 years of innovation, Deere continues to transform how it operates to build a more customer-driven and streamlined, nimble organization for the future,” said May. “I couldn’t ask for a more talented, dedicated and focused team to lead us there.”

In order to realize the Smart Industrial vision, Deere will adopt a more disciplined approach to capital allocation by devoting research and investment dollars to the most promising and profitable opportunities. Deere plans to dramatically accelerate the speed with which the company brings priority technology to market to drive value creation and capture it more quickly.

“The new operating model will help us respond to changing market conditions with greater speed and efficiency,” May said.

Photo: John May, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

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Coaching for the Forest Industry

International Forest Industries - Fri, 26/06/2020 - 12:07

It goes without saying the Covid-19 pandemic has been and still is a major challenge to most businesses and employees. Those that stayed in the game did what was necessary to get through the most difficult market since the last recession. Now, many businesses are preparing to transition back their valued employees and implement the changes that will carry them through to full recovery.

But are the employees ready?  Numerous new polices, compliance requirements and new ways of engagement are stressful and confusing for many.  Combine this with the uncertainty most employees have been living with for months now, and we have a work force that is feeling tense and insecure.

Many employees lost some of their co-workers, teammates, and friends… solid people with skills who were good at what they did.  Some may be feeling survivor guilt or anger towards their company for doing what it needed to do and wondering if they are next.  Some have lost their career or business mentor, the person who was helping them at work and advance to the next level.

Spending so much time at home has its own challenges and may have caused some to realize how lonely and unfulfilled they are.. or how unhappy they are in their marriage… or how difficult it is to care for children and ageing parents.  Or, they may have finally had the time to consider something they would really like to change about themselves or their relationships.

Now more than ever companies need a workforce that is energized, focused and productive.   Employees need as much clear, concise and honest communication as possible.

The past months have brought about a quantum leap in the acceptance and ease of connecting online.  Families from grandparents to toddlers have gathered and shared stories, businesses have completed transactions and doctors are dispensing medical advice all from the convenience of and privacy of just about anywhere.

Online therapy offers relief from loneliness, anxiety, and depression, but for the most part, not much else.  Coaching, by contrast, provides for meaningful discussion and guidance on everything else that makes up a whole person and is specifically designed for people who want to genuinely improve their lives.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of coaching, the simplest comparison is to that of an athletic coach. Just like how all great athletes have coaches, the same concept can be applied to other aspects of life as well, included relationships, stress management, work life balance, and more. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

In fact, by 2022, coaching in the United States alone will represent a $1.34 billion-dollar industry (1). There is a reason top level executives, Olympic athletes, star performers, and some of the most accomplished people in the world all attribute so much of their success to coaching; because it works.

An example of a business working to make the power of coaching more accessible is Hundred Life Design, a digital coaching platform that offers access to top tier, unconventional coaches, all of whom excelled or continue to excel and innovate in their field of expertise.  Users can select from a broad range of topics including personal and work relationships, health & wellbeing, business, leadership, career planning, interpersonal skills and more.

And it works, both on an individual level and within organizations.  A recent corporate client of Hundred Life Design, Roseburg Forest Products, based in Springfield, Oregon. With close to 4,000 employees in numerous locations across North America, Roseburg engaged Hundred Life Design to put a confidential, individually focused coaching program in place that would provide selected individuals in the company with access to their choice of a coach or coaches for a period of 6 months.  The results were positive.

Scott Folk, Roseburg’s Senior Vice President of Resources commented, “the program was well received by the company and our participating teammates because of the highly confidential nature of the coaching, this gave our employees the comfort that whatever was discussed with the coach would not be shared with the company or anyone at anytime ever”.  Folk believes this is absolutely necessary in order to make yourself vulnerable and have the brutally honest conversations you need to have to make real change in life.

Following the 6-month coaching program, Hundred followed up with each participant and asked them to complete a confidential survey.  The survey results were then consolidated and shared with the company without disclosing names or any detail.  The results were impressive.  Those who received coaching on average showed a 90% improvement in their attitude towards their personal life and a 70% improvement in attitude towards work life.  Equally interesting was the cost effectiveness of the program. Roseburg spent on average $886 per employee over the 6 month period.

When asked if Roseburg will be continuing on with the program, Folk replied, “coaching is not for everyone, but when used on a selected basis, particularly for teammates who are key contributors, new in a role, going through transitions or developing into leaders, coaching from someone outside of the company can be highly beneficial.  It’s also proven to be very cost-effective for the company and one that does not require time off or travel.  For all of these reasons, Roseburg will continue to partner with Hundred Life Design”.

Time will tell whether or not the future of coaching will be online and adopted by more businesses. Yet considering the increasing initiatives companies are making to invest in employee wellbeing, new businesses like Hundred Life Design may be on to something. 


  1. https://blog.marketresearch.com/us-personal-coaching-industry-tops-1-billion-and-growing

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

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We’ve got the go for Grind Tec 2020 !

International Forest Industries - Tue, 23/06/2020 - 13:11

The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced further steps to open up the economy: as of September 1, trade fairs can also be held again in Bavaria. This is the starting signal for the GrindTec 2020.

Augsburg – „The course has been set for the GrindTec 2020,” said Henning and Thilo Könicke, the Managing Directors of the GrindTec organiser AFAG Messen und Ausstellungen. “We will make intensive use of the approximately six months until the trade fair in order to be able to present the world’s leading trade fair for grinding technology in accordance with the safety and hygiene standards that will then be in force”.

The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs gave organizers, exhibitors and visitors of Bavarian trade fairs planning security and clarity on Tuesday, May 26. From September trade fairs can take place again, the final confirmation for the GrindTec 2020, which will now take place as planned from 10th to 13th November at the Augsburg Trade Fair Centre. AFAG considers itself well prepared. Together with the Bavarian trade fair locations, the managing directors have already been working for weeks on the development of a coordinated hygiene concept. By the autumn, the safety and hygiene concept is to be tested for its practical suitability and adapted to current conditions.

There has been a pleasing development with regard to exhibitor participation at the GrindTec 2020: Since the postponement of the trade fair there have been some cancellations by exhibitors due to scheduling, but these have already been compensated for by new registrations. At present there are approx. 670 exhibitor registrations.

The organiser AFAG will present the GrindTec 2020 and the underlying safety and hygiene concept in a press conference on 2 July at the Augsburg Trade Fair Centre.

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Stora Enso – Drone pilots scanned thousands of trees: insect damages identified from the air

International Forest Industries - Wed, 10/06/2020 - 13:35

Stora Enso’s drone research used a drone and a multispectral camera to detect insect damages in Finnish forests. The image interpretation application was able to identify trees where spruce bark beetles nestled. The new forest health data can be used for example to plan forest management, timely silvicultural work and harvesting.

The spruce bark beetle, which damages spruces in particular, is estimated to become more common in the northern forests as the climate warms. Stora Enso Forest division’s drone was able to detect spruce bark beetle exposure much faster and more efficiently than the human eye. Research flights were conducted in in South Karelia, Finland in the vicinity of Lappeenranta in the summer of 2019, and the research results were recently finalised.

The spruce bark beetle prevents the normal flow of water from tree’s root system to the top of the spruce, which causes the tree to die upright before long. A multispectral camera connected to the drone identified the trees whose fluid circulation was disturbed. In the image, the exposed trees appeared in different colors than the healthy trees. This enables the observation of spruce bark beetle damage even in a large forest area, says forest specialist Saana Pulkkinen, from Stora Enso Forest division, who did her thesis as part of the research.

The study showed that the observation of spruce bark beetle exposure made by drones and the image interpretation application was reliable. It also turned out that the larger the tree in question, the easier it was to detect the exposure. In addition, the image interpretation application was programmed to identify spruces from the other tree species: identification was 97% correct. The findings of the application were further confirmed by a field trip. From the point of view of image interpretation, a cloudy weather was the best for the flights.

This was still research work and testing, but we can already now rely on our image interpretation application when it identifies an unhealthy or damaged tree. At some points, the application was still cautious in its interpretations, but the situation will improve as we get more data on the forests that have been photographed. Based on the research results, the health classification of trees was 86% correct, Pulkkinen states.

Drone research is part of a bigger development stream that we call precision forestry. Precision forestry will offer new opportunities to monitoring forest, management decisions optimization and increasing the value for forest owners and the industry, says Mikko Juhola SVP, Innovation & Development, Stora Enso Forest division.

In addition to Finland, forest research flights and image interpretation have been performed in Sweden and the Czech Republic. Health information on thousands of conifers has been accumulated on flights. Stora Enso’s drone pilots have already scanned hundreds of hectares of forest, and more and more forest data is being accumulated. Descriptions are always made with the permission of the forest owner.

Cooperation between our various forest units will ultimately benefit forest owners not only in Finland, but also in other countries where we operate. As a first step, we intend to utilize image interpretation data to locate spruce bark beetle damage. Going forward, data accumulated from the forest can also be used in forest plans and inventories. We will continue development work so that in the future we can provide drone scanning as a service to forest owners. Already now, some of our forest experts use the drone in their own work, for example in seedling monitoring, Mikko Juhola states.

The new Forest division, which started operations in the beginning of 2020, includes Stora Enso’s Swedish forest assets and the 41% share of Tornator with the majority of its forest assets located in Finland. The division also includes wood supply operations in Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Baltic countries. We create value to our customers and private forest owners with competitive wood supply, sustainable forest management and innovation. As a major player in the bioeconomy, access to wood is critical for Stora Enso. Today, Stora Enso is one of the biggest private forest owners and wood supply organizations in the world.

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New version of PONSSE Manager improves reporting of machine chain productivity

International Forest Industries - Wed, 10/06/2020 - 13:08

PONSSE Manager 1.7  released! PONSSE Manager 1.7 presents forwarder production reporting, a function highly requested by customers, alongside the system’s other top features. As a new feature, PONSSE Manager displays the progress of work areas in a separate graph, showing harvester production and forwarder production relative to the total estimated volume of the work area in question.

Printable load certificate
The PONSSE Manager load certificate displays work area identification data and local transportation per storage location, both as sum totals and operator-specific values. The printable load certificate also includes the volume of each load, the assortments delivered, and the distance travelled.

“Forwarder production volumes will be updated in PONSSE Manager reports if the forwarder is equipped with a compatible PONSSE Load Optimizer loader scale or the Opti 4G operator load details feature, which allows operators to enter their roadside deliveries in the Opti 4G system. These features raise machine chain reporting to a whole new level and offer a better overview of total harvesting production”, says Juho Leskinen, Product Group Manager, information systems and digitalisation.

PONSSE Parts Online, a system for ordering spare parts, can be accessed from the PONSSE Manager main menu in countries where Parts Online service is available.

PONSSE Manager is a continuously developed data management system
To support their operations, forest machine entrepreneurs need a reliable partner to develop services that truly improve customers’ business. PONSSE Manager is a modern forest machine monitoring and data transfer system that forest machine entrepreneurs can use to see their machines’ location, productivity figures and fuel consumption, among others.

With PONSSE Manager, entrepreneurs can improve the efficiency of their business and enhance productivity, thanks to real-time field operations monitoring. With Manager, entrepreneurs can monitor the progress of stands, plan and manage machine transportation, keep track of machine outputs according to assortment and print out measuring certificates. In addition, Manager informs entrepreneurs of machine maintenance needs and displays any maintenance-related notes made by the operator.

Read more: www.ponsse.com/en/web/guest/services/online-services#/

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Spruce bark beetle and its impact on wood markets

International Forest Industries - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 16:33

Between 2017 and 2019, over 270 million m3 of standing timber in Central Europe was damaged by a combination of factors: primarily, changing climate conditions that featured hotter, drier summers and warmer winters. In combination with frequent windstorms, this created ideal conditions for the spread of spruce bark beetles, especially at lower elevations.

The damage is across many countries, including Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia, Italy and Sweden, but the most severe losses have been in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. The outbreak in these three countries is so severe that FEA analysis predicts that the killed timber volume from the European spruce bark beetle will eventually exceed that of the British Columbia Interior’s mountain pine beetle outbreak.

The increased salvage of dying and dead spruce timber will create more sawlogs than the sawmilling industry can process, not only in the three impacted countries, the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria, but also beyond their borders given that some logs are exported to other European countries. This will result in certain market implications and shifting trade trends through the first half of this decade and beyond — changes that will alter overall market dynamics and disrupt producers and exporters in other regions.

The sheer volume of damaged timber harvested in Central Europe has yielded logs of relatively good quality so far. Beetle-killed logs that are harvested in the winter for processing are of very high quality — almost like “fresh-cut” green sawlogs. Logs harvested in the summer, however, are more prone to blue stain and checking, and rot can even occur. The worst time for beetle wood quality is July to September due to the higher temperatures and blue stain, and especially if it rains.

Many sawmill companies are betting that the surplus timber will be around for some time — enough to justify adding sawmill capacity or even building greenfield sawmills. Up to a dozen sawmilling companies have planned for, started or even completed new capacity installations to process incremental sawlogs from the damaged timber by the end of 2021; if there is any question about how long the storm- and beetle-damaged timber is going to be around in Central Europe, these investors are providing the answer. We expect at least 2 million m3 of new sawmill capacity based on confirmed projects, although others are still in the planning stages. These sawmill capacities are being constructed based on the potential for increased harvesting of damaged timber in the future and a likely glut of low-cost sawlogs.

Lumber production:
The increased availability of low-cost damaged timber will lead to higher lumber production in Central Europe. With the massive timber salvage producing a glut of sawlogs of varying quality, there has been downward pressure on sawlog prices in Central Europe. Germany has seen a steady decline in its sawlog prices since early 2018 due to spruce bark beetle and storm wood availability, with prices there down almost 50% by the end of 2019; this approaches levels in the U.S. South (the region with some of the lowest log costs in North America).

The current price of sawlog-grade timber is considered close to the cost of harvesting and delivery to sawmills, pointing to scant potential for a reduction in log prices. However, lower-quality logs are being produced with blue stain, checking and even decay, and selling at large discounts, leading some mills to process these logs as well. Since the salvage program is likely to be in place with high volumes for some time before it eventually slows down, domestic spruce sawlog prices will probably remain near current levels. This will provide central European sawmills with a competitive advantage in both domestic and export markets.

With rising volumes of distressed sawlogs at low prices, there will be an increase in central European lumber production. Existing mills are experiencing a critical shortage of skilled workers, so adding capacity is difficult (aside from extending shifts or operating on Saturdays). However, we expect total lumber production in the three impacted countries to generally expand (aside from 2020 output slippage due to COVID-19) before production eventually eases back toward pre-beetle levels near the end of the decade. This means that sawmills in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria should remain the low-cost operators in Europe, and should be able to access most (if not all) export markets competitively and with positive margins.

Lumber exports:
Most of the top-quartile central European sawmills are export-oriented, meaning they have kilns as well as planers. With the acceleration of the spruce beetle salvage in Europe providing mills with low-cost logs, a higher proportion of production at these large-scale mills will likely be directed to export markets that require planed lumber (especially the U.S., but also China, Australia, the United Kingdom and others). According to FEA’s 2019 Global Sawmill Cost Benchmarking Report, central European sawmills are among the lowest-cost lumber suppliers of dimension lumber in export markets such as the U.S. South. This will enable European sawmills to gain market share in the U.S. at the expense of higher-cost Canadian and U.S. producers if they need to export increased lumber volumes outside Europe. From a European exporter’s perspective, the U.S. market also has the advantage of being accessible by both break-bulk vessels and containers.

Ultimately, central European mills will select lumber export markets based on net mill returns and market risk. The U.S. looks to be a very good fit for central European mills in an era of spruce bark beetles, but it will depend on net lumber returns and prices relative to other markets. Lumber exports to China are also expected to continue rising. In 2019, lumber exports from Germany totaled 692,000 m3 (versus only 154,000 m3 in 2018) and, in the first three months of 2020, reached 185,000 m3 (60% higher than a year earlier). Similar to exports to the U.S., trade to China will be dependent on conditions in other markets (MENA and Japan, for instance).

Effectively, this means that central European mills will be a threat to high-cost lumber producers in other parts of Europe — and to suppliers in export markets — for at least the first half of this decade.

Log exports:
In 2019, log export markets proved to be an important release valve for excess salvage spruce logs that were surplus to domestic mills’ needs in Germany and the Czech Republic. This trend will continue throughout the salvage harvest, especially since beetle-killed logs are being harvested at close to cost levels in Central Europe, allowing for exported logs to be competitively priced for volume sales to China.

In the current year, the rise in log exports is expected to pause due to curtailments related to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this assumption could quickly change if China’s log demand picks up. Note that Germany and the Czech Republic accounted for 80% of log exports from Europe to China in 2019, a proportion we expect to grow in 2020 and beyond.

Assuming that markets return to more normal conditions later this year, log exports from Central Europe should continue to rise — perhaps even sharply, depending on market demand, container rates and container availability. Based on the potential harvest of damaged timber and the capacity limits of the central European sawmill industry to process the damaged logs, rising log export volumes could result in major disruptions to global trade flows.

The new FEA report, Central European Beetle & Windstorm Timber Disaster: Outlook to 2030, is now available. For more information, a brochure is available here

Source: Russ Taylor, Managing Director, FEA-Canada & Rocky Goodnow, VP, North America Timber Service, FEA LLC

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NZ – Silviculture subsidy to support Kiwi locals

International Forest Industries - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 15:59

Silviculture in New Zealand got a boost with a support subsidy package announced last week from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) which will assist this sector to secure a workforce to meet the 2020 planting season labour requirements.

Border closures as part of the NZ COVID-19 elimination strategy have meant the sector couldn’t rely on seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands, as it has done in in the past. It means there are now jobs in the Silviculture/forestry sector for New Zealanders that need jobs. The subsidy will assist contractors to employ “Kiwi Locals” and support sustainability in the sector.

“In collaboration with MSD we will work with forest owners and management companies and take responsibility for creating new jobs and job security for the next six months,” says Prue Younger, CEO for Forest Industry Contractors Association. The $2.5M subsidy package will be based on a series of milestones with support payments to both the employer and employee.

Minister for Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni said the funding was for jobs in an industry needing workers right now. “This funding is getting New Zealanders working and assisting the forestry sector to get on with the business of planting for next season. We’re also keen that this investment has an eye on the future too as it supports upskilling the forestry workforce.”

There will be a requirement for the employee to enrol in the new micro-credential unit standards and the offer to undertake further work-ready standards that Competenz, the industry ITO, launched this year. These will be offered online and provide the employee opportunity to understand the career pathways available in forestry. Contractors will also be urged to register their job vacancies on the Work the Seasons website www.worktheseasons.co.nz to promote availability to job seekers and people looking for work.

The planting season will run from May through to October and support new plantings as part of the 1Billion Tree Programme along with replants in existing forestry estates. Forest Industry Contractors Association will administer the subsidy and more information along with registration details can be found on www.fica.org.nz

Source: Forest Industry Contractors Association

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Gilbert and Scantec form German alliance

International Forest Industries - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 15:28

Gilbert has appointed Scantec Industrieanlagen as its official agent for the Gilbert Planermill Division in the DACH region and Eastern Europe.

Scantec, based in Feldkirchen, Germany, offers professional consulting, customer-oriented sales and the highest level of service. The company has planned, delivered and installed more than 750 projects ranging from individual machines to major turnkey projects in the sawmilling industry.

“Scantec has decades of experience in the wood industry and excellent contacts to the leading sawmills and wood processors,” Heidi Danbrook, Sales Manager at Gilbert. “We are very fortunate to have Scantec as a sales partner in our team.”

Scantec Managing Director Stephan Lohmeyer: “Gilbert won us over right from the start with the quality and performance of their products. The Gilbert Planer equipment is a perfect addition for us in the high-performance wood processing sector.”

Today, over 130 Gilbert Planers are operating worldwide; in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Proven to be the fastest planer in the world, the Gilbert High Speed Planer runs over 300 boards/minute, leaving any competition in the dust.

A new Gilbert Planer has recently started up at Mercer Timber in Saalburg-Ebersdorf, Deutschland, designed to run up to 1,200 m/m. This will certainly be one of the most exciting planer mills in Europe! With this new partnership, Scantec and Gilbert will put their efforts together to further develop its presence in the Central and Eastern Europe market.

For the past 30 years, Gilbert has been a recognized leader in the design and manufacturing of forestry, sawmill, construction and surfacing equipment. The company is located in Roberval, Canada and employs 125 people who devote themselves to offering the best planer expertise and technology on the market.

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Vermeer – Designed for maximizing efficiency VCS

International Forest Industries - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 13:42

Vermeer is enhancing its stump cutter product line with the introduction of the patent-pending Vermeer cutting system (VCS).

The VCS incorporates a new tooth design that helps reduce pocket rotation and a cutter wheel that reduces material from recirculating during operation. The VCS is available now on select new Vermeer stump cutters and will soon be available across the entire line, as well as an option for many existing models.

According to Matt Hutchinson, product manager for tree care, rental and landscape at Vermeer, the new VCS solves many of the challenges associated with traditional stump cutting systems. “Torquing cutter teeth daily is pretty common for most stump cutter users,” he explained. “Bolts that aren’t torqued properly tend to rotate in the pocket, causing premature wear and impacting the performance of the cutter wheel. The tooth design on the VCS has a mounting and retention structure that helps keep teeth from shifting in the pocket while absorbing the shearing force, instead of the bolt securing the tooth to the cutter wheel while operating. This design makes it possible to secure each set of teeth with a single long bolt and reduces the need for retorquing.”

The VCS two-sided carbide V-profile cutter teeth help enhance the cutting performance of the stump cutter and can be flipped to the other side of the cutter wheel for an extended wear life. The redesigned cutting wheel and tooth placement allows material to flow past the wheel after being cut, which reduces recirculation. Also, each side of the wheel is protected by wear plates made from high abrasion resistant steel.

With the new VCS and ever-popular, industry proven Vermeer Yellow Jacket™ cutting system, contractors now have more options to choose from. The VCS will be offered on larger Vermeer stump cutters soon, and across the entire line in the future.

For more information about the new Vermeer cutting system, contact your local Vermeer dealer or visit vermeer.com.

About Vermeer Corporation
Vermeer delivers a real impact in a progressing world through the manufacture of high-quality tree care and environmental, agricultural, underground construction and surface mining equipment. With a reputation for durability and reliability, that equipment is backed by localised customer service and support provided by independent dealers around the world.

Vermeer product manager for tree care, rental and landscape (pictured)

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by Dr. Radut